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Are you positioned to succeed in the 2020’s? Dave Grohl is, and your company culture can learn a lot from him. Long-term success as a rock star takes careful planning and execution in order to maintain creativity, brand image, and most importantly, the creation of music that people love. It’s not easy, which is why only a few artists remain relevant beyond their second album.

So how does Dave Grohl continue to grace the A-list 30 years after hitting the music scene, and what can he do for your company?

Most of us came to know Dave Grohl in the 1990’s as the indefatigable drummer for Nirvana. As his pursuits morphed into the prolific, gum-chewing lead singer for Foo Fighters, and further into his all-star music collaborations and film projects, we learned something much greater about him — Grohl is a master in the art of transition.

Art of Transition

A transition is “a movement, development, or evolution from one form, stage, or style to another” (source: Merriam-Webster). The artistry is in knowing what movements to make and when to make them. This requires some discovery whether you’re a renowned musician, or a major company. Grohl gets it.

First and foremost, he knows his purpose — why he does what he does. As he said in his 2013 keynote at South by Southwest, “It’s your voice. Cherish it. Respect it. Nurture it. Challenge it. Stretch it and scream until it’s f****** gone. Because everyone is blessed with at least that, and who knows how long it will last” (source: Rolling Stone).

Grohl’s voice — his brand, his purpose — is all about helping others develop self-esteem. Delivery of this purpose is therefore not limited to releasing another Foo Fighters album, or any musical endeavor for that matter, so long as he relates to his audience.

Which brings us to the second component in the art of transition, Grohl knows his audience — he relates to who they are and how they perceive each project he does. This knowledge coupled with his purpose, act as a ‘true north’ for any projects he’s considering, whether it’s an off-shoot collaboration like Them Crooked Vultures, performing on a Beatles tribute album, appearing on a children’s show, or directing a feature-length documentary.

Finally, he knows his industry. Over the course of his career as music has shifted from full-length albums purchased on cassettes and CD’s, to 3 ½ minute singles consumed freely online, Grohl has realized that there are countless ways for him to deliver on his purpose — and yes, ultimately profit from it. His openness to continually consider ‘what’s next’ while staying true to his audience and values, has allowed him to stay prominent over the long haul in the entertainment industry.

5 & 10 Year Planning

Unlike Dave Grohl, companies are large and decisions necessarily take time, but your thinking should be the same. As you plan your 5 and 10 year goals for the coming decade, consider how well your company is primed to transition and adapt. Key considerations are:

  • Know your purpose – Why does your company do what it does? What purpose does it serve in the world? What gets you out of bed in the morning?
  • Know your teams – What are their perceptions of the company? Do they embody your purpose?
  • Know your customers – What are the perceptions of your company and its products/services from the outside looking in? Are you still addressing a meaningful need?
  • Know your market – What opportunities exist for you to deliver your purpose in meaningful ways?

Communicating Your Message

Once again, Grohl has the advantage of needing to only convince himself and those within his immediate circle. Your company, on the other hand, might have hundreds or even thousands of employees, countless teams, and multiple locations. But, this doesn’t mean you have to settle for communicating your purpose via a PowerPoint presentation or company manual.

Music is one of the most powerful ways in which you can share your purpose company-wide. It excites multiple senses, reaches us emotionally, is memorable, and is linked to relationship development when experienced in groups.

As you plan your strategies and communications in 2020, SongDivision can help. For nearly 2 decades we have redefined the way businesses motivate and unite teams, using music to communicate key messaging, core values and purpose.

Our Culture Club program is specifically designed to capture the voice of your teams and communicate key messaging outside of the traditional conference and events space. These custom programs take place over a series of sessions and may include:

  • Concept Album – Write a series of songs with your teams to collectively express a particular theme or idea.
  • Musical – Write a series of songs with your teams that build on one another to tell a greater story about your company.
  • Tune-Ups – Songwriting sessions with your teams to build-up to a larger conference. Distill ideas and capture the voice of your company through music, which can be arranged into a Custom Song or used to inspire a Team Anthem at your conference.

The Path Forward

The reality is that while it may look effortless, being a master in the art of transition is challenging. It takes continued belief and inspiration, most especially when things aren’t going according to plan. With the untimely passing of Kurt Cobain and the end of an era for Nirvana, Grohl explains, “I had no voice. I turned off the radio, I put away my records, and packed up my drums.” (source: Rolling Stone)

To recover, however, Grohl went back to his purpose, “Eventually…that feeling came back to me — the same feeling that made me feel possessed and empowered and inspired and enraged, and so in love with life, and so in love with music that it had the power to incite a riot, or an emotion, or start a revolution, or just to save a young boy’s life. I felt it again.” (source: Rolling Stone).

You’re inevitably going to have to make tough decisions and take risks. The key is in knowing that everyone within your company understands your purpose, and how to bring it to life for your business.


Start your 2020 transition and unite your teams using music. We’ll show you how!

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